(Every once in a while I have this urge to write a shiny, picture-rich blog post. The following post is one of those.)
The other day, after the storm passed away, I surprised myself thinking at how my digital nomad life has changed completely the way I work. I don’t have an office anymore – and I do enjoy this every minute, after more than 10 years of working for my own company, in my own office – and that means I work pretty much everywhere. The distinction between work and regular life slowly faded away. It’s not like I’m working anymore. I spend quality time in a coffee shop for a few hours, but at the same time (and in the same place) I do write blog posts, write code or do consulting.
Although it may seem like a very comfortable way of living, it’s not even remotely like this. It’s very easy to get distracted and stop creating value. As you may imagine, is very important to keep things under control.
So, how I manage to actually run a fairly popular blog, do consulting on a regular basis, create iPhone apps and self-publish my ebooks? The short answer: I keep myslef organized. The long answer: you just started to read it :). What follows is a very accurate reconstruction of what it takes for me to write a blog post, from idea to publishing. Sepcifically, this very blog post. 🙂
On the technical side, it involves and iPhone, and iPad and iAdd. Of course, a Mac is necessary for publishing too. As you may know, I am the creater of iAdd, so I am definitely biased here. It’s not like you can’t use something else, it’s just that iAdd really works for me.
Capturing Blog Post Ideas
Being on the run pretty much anytime, I started to capture my ideas using my iPhone. In the beginning I used a mind-mapping software, but now I use iAdd. iAdd let me save in it 4 types of information: tasks, projects, ideas and events. Every time I have a blog post idea, I fire up iAdd and quickly jot the title of the post:
A blog post is more likely to be created as a project. After I added the project, I start to add short tasks to it. They are more like the building blocks of the entire blog writing process, not only paragraph sketches or ideas.
Once I feel I’m ok with it, I sync my app to Dropbox. The newly added project will be safe and, more than that, it will be available next time when I sync with my iPad too.
Managing The Actual Process
Now, suppose I’m back to a more comfortable place and I have a little bit of time. I take my iPad, fire up iAdd and do a sync. After the sync, my project from iPhone will be magically available on iPad. (Just click on the following screenshots to enlarge them).
The first thing I do once the project is available on my iPad is re-ordering tasks (I can reorder tasks on the iPhone too, but usually I don’t have time for this, plus, on the iPad is more space).
After reordering, I quickly peruse the tasks and if I feel the need to enhance or complete any one of them, i do it.
Of course, now it’s time to add more details, so on the iPad I add the more complex tasks to the project.
At some point, the blog post project will be finished. From this point, it takes two different routes. First of all, the entire project gets sent by email (you can do that from inside iAdd). Like that, I will have all the ideas on my Mac too. I usually copy and paste the email message in my blogging setup.
But moving the work completely on the iMac will undermine the power of iAdd. So, the second route the project takes is to be sent to Decide. This is how it looks when it’s sent to Decide.
As I already told you, not all the tasks are involving writing. Some of them are atomic actions which can be performed anytime. For instance, in this specific project, I have to make screenshots. This can be done anytime. It’s an atomic task that can be performed any time I have 15 minutes free. So, I start to add contexts to all the tasks in the project.
And also I add due dates to each task.
After I finished, all the tasks are ordered ascending by time, giving me quite a clear idea about what I have to do.
One more thing. I may keep the project in Decide for as long as I want. And usually I do. I don’t write all the blog posts at once. I have other projects too. But once I’m committed to a project, I move it to Do. All the tasks that have been added in Assess, completed with contexts and due dates in Decide, will show up in my time based views in Do. Meaning that if one of the tasks is due Today, I will have it under my Today tab in iAdd. Along with the project title too. Once done, the task can be crossed off.
But if I feel a little bit lost, I can also look at the entire project in Do. I can see all the remaining tasks, and, if I want to edit their due dates, I send the entire project back to Decide.
Well, that’s pretty much it. 🙂 Expected more? Sorry to tell you that I like things simple and effective 🙂
So, I capture all the ideas on my iPhone, I manage the entire project on my iPad and then I publish on my Mac. If I add together all the tasks involved in creating a blog post, I think I am somewhere between 1 and 3 hours for any of the blog posts I manage like this. It doesn’t happen in one chunk, as I told you, because my work time is unusually fractured, but the good thing is that it does happen in a consistent way.